Belgium is the capital of the European Union and headquarters of NATO, it also has a very sizable muslim community.
Why Belgium is Ground Zero for European Jihadis
“When we have to contact these people [European officials] or send our guys over to talk to them, we’re essentially talking with people who are… children. These are not pro-active, they don’t know what’s going on. They’re in such denial. It’s such a frightening thing to admit their country is being taken over.” — American intelligence official.
- “Returned Syria fighters are a huge threat… It is absolutely unbelievable that our governments allow them to return… Every government in the West, which refuses to do so [lock them up], is a moral accessory if one of these monsters commits an atrocity. … Our citizens are in mortal danger if we do not restore control over our own national borders.” — Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
The terrorist attacks on the airport and metro in Brussels are casting a spotlight, once again, on Belgium’s ignominious role as a European haven for jihadists.
Several distinct but interconnected factors help explain why Brussels, the political capital of Europe, has emerged as the jihadist capital of Europe.
|Scenes from the jihad on Belgium: The aftermath of yesterday’s bomb attacks at the Brussels airport (left) and a metro station (right).|
Large Muslim Population
The Muslim population of Belgium is expected to reach 700,000 in 2016, or around 6.2% of the overall population, according to figures extrapolated from a recent study by the Pew Research Center. In percentage terms, Belgium has one of the highest Muslim populations in Western Europe.
In metropolitan Brussels — where roughly half of Belgium’s Muslims currently live — the Muslim population has reached 300,000, or roughly 25%. This makes Brussels one of the most Islamic cities in Europe.
Approximately 100,000 Muslims live in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, which has emerged as the center of Belgian jihadism.